Just when I think I am not going to have anything to blog about, something new occurs. A bright light has been shined upon someone’s ignorance, imbecility, and inanity. This terrible behavior makes my faith in humanity sadly slip southward and question humankind. This belief backslide was caused by the indifferent, insensitive attitude of one individual. Thankfully, as I have gotten older, I learned how to avoid confrontation with a person like that.
There are three rooms for changing aside from the two locker rooms at the fitness center where I swim. These changing rooms are available for families or the disabled to use for pool preparation privacy. In all actuality, anyone can use these rooms as there is no bouncer at the door to keep out the riff-raff. Medical or not, various reasons create a need for private spaces such as these for the public in general. All gyms should, and most do, have these private rooms.
I sat patiently waiting for the room I needed while I ate a protein bar and talked with a friend. A woman and her daughter came out of the dressing room, and they slowly gathered their belongings. She looked at the two empty rooms and then asked me if this was the only room I could use?
This woman had a terse tone to her query as she nodded towards the room they just left. I said yes and then nicely explained how the other two rooms do not work for my physical needs. She had an inflection that almost sounded accusatory like she owned the place and set the rules. It felt like she was shaming me like I was not supposed to be in this public space and should stay at home out of sight.
The confrontation flummoxed me, and I was speechless at her bitter interrogation. Thankfully, my friend I was talking with spoke up as he could see the look of consternation on my face. He explained the men’s locker room is not set up correctly for the needs of the disabled. They went round and round as he tried to be clear, concise, and kind in his explanation. This woman said everything she wanted and completed the information clarification conversation. With her feathers ruffled and unhappy, she swiftly departed.
I often want to ask all the antagonists in my life one straightforward and simple question. How does MY situation that you know nothing about impact YOUR life?
Side note: Let us forget about the disabled for a minute and focus specifically on the family changing room’s original purpose. The initial reasoning was to help parents who had children of the opposite sex in the locker rooms. These rooms were highly beneficial to moms with sons or dads with daughters. That means that since she had only her granddaughter, then by her logic, she should have been using the women’s locker room. However, did I point this out to her? No, because my life is not impacted by her being there. Also, I am a nice guy, and it is none of my business.
There was one time when another woman saw me in the passenger seat in an accessible parking space. My friends’ handicapped placard was sitting on the driver’s side dash as he ran inside. She spoke into the open car window and complained that the placard was not hanging correctly on the mirror. I tried to explain there are two options hanging on the mirror OR the driver-side dash. She just harrumphed and walked away, not accepting or acknowledging she was wrong.
I understand she did not honestly know the law and should have said nothing. Sadly people like her often feel entitled to say something even though they do not know the facts. I again pose my query: How does MY situation impact YOUR life?
I believe some people in America feel entitled to speak up when they should not. They seem to want to involve themselves in matters that do not concern them and do not understand. Those who want to be sensitive and helpful to those who are treated poorly challenged say or do something. Stand up for a stranger who is being disrespected, degraded, or devalued because no one deserves that treatment. However, say nothing if you know nothing.
Wise men speak because they have something to say, while fools speak because they have to say something.